With no shirt on, Nick Offerman took the Pollak Theatre stage Thursday night with a guitar in one hand and an American flag shirt in the other. He approached the mic and gave a simple, deep-voiced “Good evening.”
“Life can be this delicious,” he said as he rubbed his stomach, which is far from a six-pack. Before placing his patriotic shirt on, he said, “I warned you. Minor nudity advertised; minor nudity achieved.”
Offerman plays Ron Swanson on NBC’s hit comedy Parks and Recreation. Besides the mustache, the audience got to see just how far the similarities between him and his character go.
He prepared the crowd by warning them of sing-a-longs, sea shanties, Bible talk and that, of course, meat would be mentioned.
Through the course of the 135-minute set, Offerman told stories about him and his wife, Megan Mullally, who is best known for portraying Karen Walker on Will & Grace. He shared how he believed The Bible was created, his times as a born-again Christian, and The Hobbit.
Offerman’s ten tips for a prosperous life was the umbrella of the whole performance. He assured the audience, “I’m not testing you, but life will give you pop quizzes forever.”
He then revealed that the first tip was to engage in romantic love. Offerman advises to make homemade cards for everything. Everyone should do it except Rob Lowe because, well, he’s Rob Lowe. Going off on a “RoLowe” (as he called him) tangent, he admitted to messing up lines to do more takes with him.
“I get paid to look at his face,” he said, making the audience jealous.
The third tip was to carry a handkerchief, describing it as a “charismatic square of pleasing cotton” and then went on to sing about how he uses handkerchiefs.
Moving on to the fourth, he simply stated, “Eat red meat” then moved on. Any Parks and Recreation viewer knows his character loves meat and now we know Offerman does too.
The fifth tip, get a hobby, is just another reassurance that he is a real life Ron Swanson. His personal hobby is wood working. He gave the audience a quick lesson on how to make a toothpick out of a match. “Wood is so dope,” he exclaimed.
Noticing a flag hidden behind the curtain, he brought it out and started waving it around. After asking the audience what flag it was, he dragged it to center stage and shouted, “The Garden State, F*** yeah!”
Peter Campagna of Rahway, N.J., said this was his favorite part because it was a “masculine display of patriotism,” which describes Offerman in a nut shell.
Swanson is a character with very little emotion. Don’t even think about trying to make him laugh, because he won’t. Offerman surprised the audience with his laugh, which was a bit of a giggle and sounded like that of a young boy.
Senior communication major Caroline Babula said the laugh was her favorite part. “As the actor who plays Ron Swanson, you kind of expect him to be like his character; a little gruff, very direct and straight- laced,” she said. “I cracked up every time he laughed.”
Offerman even touched upon this, saying the only other difference is that he dances. He said if Ron Swanson ever danced “a riff would open in the space time continuum and Teddy Roosevelt would walk through it and punch him in the face.”
David Boyle, senior business management major, said, “Despite the long show, he never lost enthusiasm or energy throughout the show and I thought that was pretty impressive.”
The show ended with a Parks and Recreation original song, “Bye Bye Lil’ Sebastian”, where the crowd joined in and made it a sing-a-long.
During the standing ovation, he did one last dance around the New Jersey State flag before walking off stage.
PHOTO COURTESY of Blaze Nowara